A pair of vintage Japanese Baluster porcelain antique vase lamps dressed with French ormolu bronze mounts in the Oriental manner.
The distinctive style of Japanese art was virtually unknown in the West until Admiral Matthew C Perry established contact and permission of the Shogun to visit in 1854. Trade with Japan began in 1858.
The extraordinary vision of Japanese artists, particularly the woodblock prints, inspired Western artists such as Monet, Whistler, and van Gogh; the art form was named in the west 'Japonismé ', and its influence permeated into opera (Madame Butterfly, The Mikado) and furniture designs and fashion.
These hand-painted and decorated Japanese vases, showing tranquil scenes of court life were brought to the West, and, with a stroke of inspiration employed as oil lamps, being fitted with ormolu bases in the oriental taste and oil reservoirs and burners. Thus, artistic effort, knowledge, and tradition were combined with typical Victorian practicality, and with our adaptation for electricity, a century and a half later, the decorative lighting function is in use again.